Elounda is located in east Crete, north of Agios Nikolaos and south of the seaside resort of Plaka.
Elounda was once a picturesque fishing village in the lovely Mirabello Bay. The inhabitants lived from farming, fishing, salt extraction from the Venetian saltpans, and emery mining.
In the hills around Elounda is found a mineral unique to Greece, “akonopetra” or whetstone, a type of fine emery used to make whetstones and emery paper to hone tools used in many different jobs. The emery of Elounda had long been known in Europe by the name of “Turkey stones” or “Naxos stone”.
Once discovered by tourism, Elounda developed into a resort famous for its beautiful scenery and the luxury hotels which are still being built in the area. It is said to be the place with the most five-star hotels in Greece.
The former Prime Minister of Greece Andreas Papandreou was particularly fond of Elounda and came here on holiday at least once a year. He introduced it to French President Mitterand and Libyan leader Gaddafi, while Elounda was also a favourite resort of Kostas Simitis, another more recent Greek Prime Minister.
Apart from politicians, Elounda often welcomes Arab princes with their large families, film and music stars, Russian tycoons and other VIPs from all over the world. This is also part of its magic, as many people dream of spreading their towel on the beaches of Elounda, where some famous person has been swimming.